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News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Bill Weir. (2012) Author J.K. Rowling discusses her new novel. New. (CC)

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  ABC    Nightline    News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Bill Weir.   
   (2012) Author J.K. Rowling discusses her new novel. New. (CC)  

    September 26, 2012
    11:35 - 12:00am EDT  

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. tonight, on "nightline," from meal trashing to a lunch room uprising. across the country, school kids are rebelling against the government's new healthy cafeteria meal guidelines. plus, she invented harry, hogwarts. what is left? tonight in an abc news exclusive i talked with j.k. rowling who penned the wildly popular "harry potter" series about her next chapter. and it's a secret as closely guarded at the sorcerer's stone. now an exclusive preview of her new book "the casual vacancy" a
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novel for adults only. good evening. i'm cynthia mcfadden. tonight the food fight sweeping school cafeterias nationwide. it's only been a month since new federal guidelines mandating healthy school lunches went into effect but many students already finding them hard to swallow. cafeteria fare. now calorie-restricted some peop claim their lunch doesn't fill them up. turning to youtube to make their voices heard. here's ab's jim avila. >> reporter: it's a noble effort but an abc news investigation shows the usda's new school lunch guidelines are not going down so well with many kids cross the country.
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america's public school students protesting the new federal war on child obesity with guidelines promoting smaller portions, fewer calories, less meat or cheese, more fruits and vegetables all aimed to curb obesity. some protests hit the internet in dramatic fashion. like this lunchtime revolt. ♪ my friends are at the corner store ♪ >> reporter: students at this kansas high school creating a viral video promoting the viral videos in their cafeteria. ♪ we are hungry >> reporter: the new rules limit elementary schoolers to 650 calories, 700 for middle schoolers and 850 for high schoolers. >> it's a different mix how you get to the calorie.
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based on the science, a more nutritious mix. >> reporter: based on the science. is increase in plate waste. the only known study under the new guidelines contains a startling statistic. kids are throwing away twice as much food as last year. >> just plop the vegetables and food there, don't do anything else. waste goes up 97%. >> reporter: we visited a school in suburban chicago this month. where middle schoolers analyzed their waste and shocked to find 46 bocks of unopened pears. >> they're all unopened. >> reporter: week before, all 111 vegetable containers served were thrown away. >> schools tell us they're seeing a 50% increase in luncheon trash. >> it's too healthy.
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>> i try my hardest but it's not working. >> reporter: kids are bringing their own and only take vegetables and fruit when she makes them. >> a lot goes in the trash. >> reporter: the school is so secret it's hidden back here in a supply room behind a locked door and underneath one of the boxes. that ingredient? salt. >> the new school lunch rooms place limits on salt, ketchup and sugar. >> nobody is going get nutrition out testify if you don't eat it. the trash can does nothing for you nutritionally. >> reporter: usda says it's working in some schools. >> we're seeing elementary school students more receptive than this, which is understandable, high school students went through schools with a different sort of formula. >> reporter: cornell study says
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there's ways to cut down on the plate waste. by moving healthy choices to the front and making up names for vegetables like power baerns or x-ray vision carrots. plate waste drops dramatically. >> that makes all the difference. >> they love salad. >> reporter: moves that could help the modern day lunch lady cut down on plate waste and american kids cut down on obesity. i'm jim avila, bristol, virginia. >> "good morning america" will have more on the story tomorrow. our thanks to jim av ra. just ahead my exclusive interview with j.k. rowling. what the feisty author told me about readers of her brand-new book five years in the making. >> i would have nothing to say to the person who didn't cry at the end of this book.
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the power of her imagination create aid magical world of wizards and witchcraft, starring the most famous student at the hogwarts school. harry potter. it made her witcher than the queen of england. now about to have a new book taking a change from childhood fantasy to grim reality. i had to read it in the publisher's office, agree not to reveal anything until today. harry potter captured the imagination of a generation of children.
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and their parents. an empire built around a respectable orphan boy filled with fantastic world. even a game or two. harry potter wasn't just a young wizard, not just a hero, he became an industry. now 450 million books. 8 movies and 1 billion or so dollars later. harry potter's author, j.k. rowling is poised to release her first novel written for adults. >> tell me where we are. magnificently beautiful. >> reporter: the casual vacancy is different from "harry potter" as you can imagine.
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the setting is an english town. >> it's not based where we are. it's very english and we're in scotland. i expect we're in that kind of rural prettiness. but it's anything but pretty between the haves and have nots. we've come to edinboro, scotland to talk about her new novel. the book deal was prostitution and heroin addiction. >> there's adolescent sex, there's cutting. there's death. >> yep. >> but it's a comedy. >> there are all those things. when i read the brurb that it was a black comedy. i thought maybe it's comic tragedy. there's rumor in the book, at times real humor but not
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primarily a comedy. >> reporter: the book is so top secret the publisher guarded it like the sorcerer's stone. >> this is so rare, i read the manuscript pages in your publisher's office. >> sorry about that. >> why the security? >> you tell me, really. i mean, i'd love it to be a normal book dch. >> reporter: but normal has not been part of j.k. rowling's world for quite some time. secrecy has become a part of every day life for quite some time. a woman wealthier than the queen. >> do you have a disguise? >> well, once. i won't tell you what it was in case i have to news it again. but it did work. i used it when i went to get my wedding dress.
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>> we asked thoer read from the book. alas, she did. but as her publisher says we can't let you hear it until books in stores tomorrow -- >> wait until you hear what happened. >> reporter: but talk about it, you can. >> you've gone from the ultimate fantasy to the ultimate reality. >> i think that's a very fair statement. i've gone from dragons and unicorns and all of the fun that's involved in writing that to a book that intensely personal, that expresses a lot of my reality. because i've had a very strange life. >> reporter: indeed, 15 years ago she fled from edinboro to what was described as an abusive marriage, barely surviving on welfare with a young baby now she's a happily married world famous almost billionaire.
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>> it's not entirely comfortable to be at the top of the "forbes" list? >> i'm not at the top of the force list. >> probably the most accomplished author of all time. >> when i first became what i called rich, actually that's way before a lot of people would call me rich. it was uncomfortable. that's definitely true. the shift was so dramatic. i found it very disoenting. i found it guilty. didn't know what to do. was afraid i'd blow it. an my daughter's security would be gone. >> reporter: now her security is no question. >> one person said, if j.k. rowling wrote a lawn mower manual, it would sell 2 million copies. is that annoying or comforting?
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>> it's comforting. my worry was having finished "harry" how would i know i was published for the right reason? >> reporter: she even considered writing "vacancy" under a different name. but thought against it. >> i never decided to write anything thinking what am i proofing today? it's not how i would write. that's just a story i really wanted to tell. >> reporter: the reasons are deeply personal. >> this book is not a memoir, however it says personal things about what it's like to be poor and what it's like to be on the receiving end of certain attitudes when you're poor. >> what would you say you learned? >> sometimes we get the views of rich people who may not know as much. when you are poor, you are part of this mass of humanity.
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no one really gives a damn. and it's uncomfortable for me being where i am now, occasionally, to be spoken to, as though i share that particular view, when obviously, i think, 15 years ago, 16 years ago, would you even be interested in talking to me? >> i want to go back to the themes in the book a little bit. because there is a very dark center. i know that you've been very candid in talking it about depression. to the point of feeling suicidal in your earl life. >> we have an adult character, who has an obsessive compulsive disorder. >> these are things i know from the inside. >> the ocd part? >> when i was in my teens i had ocd. >> how did it man test? >> compulsion. it was very common. like checking, double-checking,
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triple checking. >> depression is not part of your life now? >> no, not at all. i would say i've not been depressed for more than a decade. >> "harry potter" must have cheered you up. i know that's cavaliere. >> it cheered me up a lot. that's not cavaliere. forget the money "harry potter" gave me self-respect. i've always written. now i was getting paid to do it. now it became my promotion. >> strong enough to take the giant leap from "harry potter" to a moral world of wanting approval to the moral world. see was eager to know what those of us what read the back think. >> at the end of the book did you cry? >> yes. >> i don't want to say good. i can't -- i would have nothing to say to the person who didn't cry at the end of this book. nothing. the end is bad.
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sorry. but i'm not sorry. that's the thing, i don't want to distress you but at the same time -- >> reporter: but at the same time she insists we confront the darkest side of humanity in ourself. when we come back, the life lesson she said she learned from, of all people, michael jackson. call in the nerds. build a prototype. mold it. shape it. love it. give it a starting price under 16 grand. take it to the track. tweak. tweak. tweak. stop. take it to the car shows. call the critics. call the marketing team. get a celebrity endorser. he's perfect. i am? [ male announcer ] yes, you are. making a groundbreaking car -- it's that easy. ♪
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number of students that wea lot of problehave.th the... resources. materials. things that the children need... on a day-to-day basis. anncr: question seven will help. the department of legislative services says question seven... will mean one hundred ninety nine million a year... for schools...gaming revenue that would have... gone to other states.
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and independent audits will guarantee the money... goes where it's supposed to. krystal conwell: i think people should vote for question... seven because i think it will be a great benefit to children.
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j.k. rowling thrilled young readers with her story about a boy wizard. now she begins with new chapter with a story far less magical. more gritty. >> i think lightning doesn't strike twice. i accepted it a long time ago. back in 2000. i remember thinking this won't happen again. i'll just absorb that lesson now. >> reporter: it's a lesson that the woman who brought us "harry potter" said she learned from another magical boy.
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michael jackson. ♪ >> reporter: who grew up to light the world on fire with his own "thriller." >> he wants to do thriller again and again and again instead of accepting that he produced one of the best albums of all time and he'd always have that and freeing him to do something maybe a little upbeat and explore. and risk failure. it's tragic, actually. it's very, very sad that someone with that amount of talent would be chasing that. >> reporter: so she will not chase "harry potter" but turned the page to something new. >> i do feel free to write what i want to write. i kept my contract with the fans, i did it with seven books. i love doing that. you about harry's gone. the casual vacancy which isn't in